Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Christmas Lights

Much of the time it is hard for Grant and I to see progress and appreciate just how far we have come. But there are moments that happen that truly spot light the changes for us. Christmas light viewing exactly one year ago ended after about 30 minutes with Henry SCREAMING all. the way. home!!! No exaggerating! I don’t think he took a breath once! He hated every moment of it. It was miserable for everyone.

Last night, very spontaneously, we decided to pack up the kids in the family truckster and cruise for Christmas lights. Apparently, I had blocked last year’s fiasco out of my memory. We decided to head over to Tilles Park and drive through their Winter Wonderland. We held our breath as we got in the LONG line of cars creeping to enter the park. The little ones talked excitedly about what lights they could see from the road. As we finally entered the park only 10 minutes later, Henry and Lucy were thrilled to be driving slowly through the wonderland pointing out the different displays and stories told by over a million lights. The drive through the park ended after about 30 minutes and all remained calm in the back of the van. Grant and I decided to push our luck and check out a house that sets their holiday lights to music. The house was also in this same area so we did not have far to go. As we turned down the street we hear Henry from the back seat, ” I’m ready to go home. Can we go home?” Again, Grant and I held our breath as we explained that we wanted to see one more house and then we would go home. Once we got in front of the house, Henry spotted the large train set with three different trains running on the front lawn with thousands of lights dancing around it to the holiday music. Again, another success! We made it through almost 3 full songs before hearing from the backseat that it was time to go home. We were done pushing the situation and headed straight home. No crying, fussing or complaining!!!  As we neared our neighborhood, Grant and I looked at each other and smiled, having the same thought, “Remember last year? What an awesome change!”

For most families, this type of activity is probably an average holiday occurence. For us, it was a HUGE accomplishment!  Not to mention that it was a very last-minute decision with about 20 minutes of prep to an already off-kiltered winter break schedule. Previously in the day, Henry had an O.T. session with a different therapist that he does not often see AND we stopped to visit a friend of mine  right after that with barely any review of a social story (if you could even call it that!) about being a good visitor! He had a full day!

The day was a complete success and I am holding on to it and remembering each “typical” step that Henry took today and just how far we have, indeed come!  And I am hopeful that we can add a fun-filled family tradition of Christmas light cruising in years to come!


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